Is this one high end enough where it counts?
Price: $1,499 | By: Sony
Instead of the usual middle-of-the-road laptop offerings, Sony has opted for a high-end Core i7-powered machine. It’s got a 14-inch touchscreen, a Core i7-3537U processor that can boost up to 3.1GHz, 4GB of RAM, a 24GB SSD as well as a 500GB HDD for extra storage. It’s a little let down by the Intel HD 4000 graphics, which while fine for everyday use, are far inferior to a discrete GPU for both GPU-accelerated programs and gaming.
The 1,366 x 768 resolution is also a bit disappointing for a premium laptop — Full HD 1080p is about the minimum we’d expect. While the screen’s viewing angles and brightness are good, the colours lack the pop you’d normally get from a higher-priced laptop. The VAIO does include a DVD drive, but sadly not Blu-ray. It has a good range of connectivity options, with dual USB 3.0 ports (plus a single USB 2.0 one), Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, LAN port, HDMI out, VGA, memory card slot and a 3.5mm headphone jack.
While the style of the VAIO is somewhat blocky, it only weighs 2.1kg and has a quality feel. The keyboard isn’t backlit, but it has little flex and is a pleasure to type on. Using the touchscreen was sometimes tricky, as the screen hinge lets it bounce on rough swipes.
Annoyingly, the internal cooling fan spins up and is noisy under even light or no-load conditions. The powerful CPU will drain the battery in around 3 hours if it’s working hard, although you’ll get over 4 hours of use just surfing the net.
Priced at just under $1,500, the Sony is an OK buy if you need this exact feature set. Otherwise, though, you’d be better off with a cheaper competitor.
Pros : Powerful CPU, DVD drive, SSD
Cons : No discrete GPU, no Blu-ray, noisy.
Rating : 6 out of 10.